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January/February 2016
Vol. 35 No. 1

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Dispatch: Kara Walker at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Domino Sugar Factory, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
by Susan Canning
Kara Walker, A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refin­ing Plant. 2014. Kara Walker operates in the liminal—that in-between space of overlap and displacement at the border and on the margins—intent on undermining and transcending fixed definitions and domains of difference. Whether in the form of cut-out silhouettes, for which she first gained recognition, or in more recent projects, including an exhibition that she organized for the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania, a large-scale sculptural installation at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, and a follow-up exhibition at Sikkema Jenkins gallery, Walker’s work navigates the presumed positions, categories, and assumptions that shape and circulate around the racial, sexual, and gendered body as it traverses time, place, and space. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Kara Walker, "A Subtlety, or the Mar­velous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refin­ing Plant", 2014
Chicago: Matt Siber - DePaul Art Museum
by Amy Haddad
Blue, 2006. Advertisements tell people what to think, what to buy, and how to act. But not Matt Siber’s “Idol Structures.” The Chicago-based artist’s photographs and large-scale sculptures encouraged viewers to consider the structures of mass media communication and advertisements found in public spaces. It is apt that his exhibition debuted on the DePaul Univer­­­sity campus at the start of the school year, when students are bombarded with advertisements. Siber’s work explores how advertising, branding, propaganda, and news media influence people. In keeping with this theme, “Idol Structures” emphasized the medium used to deliver the message, rather than the message itself. Most of the photographs omitted the sign faces, where advertisements are traditionally placed, and the sculptures exposed little or nothing of a brand or message. As Siber put it, the aim was to “disempower” the works, allowing them to be viewed as formal objects. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Matt Siber, installation view of “Idol Structures,” 2015
Beacon, New York: Robert Irwin - Dia:Beacon
by Kathryn Bowne
Robert Irwin, Excursus: Homage to the Square³, 2015. Detail of mixed-media installation. Robert Irwin’s “site-conditioned” installation Excursus: Homage to the Square3 is a navigable optical illusion of 18 interconnected rooms divided by floor-to-ceiling semi-transparent scrims. Originally commissioned by Dia Center for the Arts for its former space in Chelsea in 1998, the new iteration engages with the architectural and lighting specificities of its redesigned space in Beacon. Taking cues from his surroundings, Irwin manipulates the existing building to form a Gesamt­kunstwerk out of an old box factory turned museum. In reinterpreting nearly every facet of the space, he creates a liminal experience of sacred meditation. Because viewers can enter the work from varying points, it is not immediately apparent that Irwin’s role as artist has transformed into that of choreographer through a mobile style of viewership and experience. Wandering through the maze of white scrim chambers softened by the ghostly shadows of diffused fluorescent lights, viewers are immersed in a perceptual experience of disorienting light and space. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Robert Irwin, Excursus: Homage to the Square³, 2015. Detail of mixed-media installation
New York: Samara Golden - MoMA PS1
by Marty Carlock
Samara Golden, The Flat Side of the Knife, 2014–15. Silvered foam insulation board, installation view A display of silver Escher-inspired stairs leading nowhere, some absurdly upside down, some supporting tensely poised silver wheelchairs (wheels both down and up), burst like a hallucination upon visitors to PS1. Without exception, gallery-goers whipped out their cell phones, because no one could be sure that their dazzled faculties of perception would retain the scene without a photo. Samara Golden’s The Flat Side of the Knife (2014–15) conjured a witty, dream-like atmosphere that toyed with the subconscious while tweaking our certainty about what we think we see. Those who paused long enough to try to make sense of the visuals were presented with a rich environment. A video of a beach scene, waves crashing across a rock, was projected sky-side down. Couches and side tables clung upside down to the ceiling, all but the flowered rug rendered in white or silver. Wine spilled from a tumbled glass overhead marred a table with a burgundy stain, upsetting the artist’s pale palette. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.


Samara Golden, The Flat Side of the Knife, 2014–15. Silvered foam insulation board, installation view.
New York: Teppei Kaneuji - Jane Lombard Gallery
by Bansie Vasvani
Teppei Kaneuji, Teenage Fan Club #66-72, 2015. Plastic figures and hot glue, dimensions variable Entering the world of Tokyo-based sculptor Teppei Kaneuji is like walking into a funky workshop gone awry. Quirky combinations of tools, surreal arrangements of household objects on barbecue grills, towers of Claes Oldenburg knock-offs, and black and white stuffed toys collide to create a phantasmagoria of color and action. In “Deep Fried Ghost,” his first U.S. solo exhibition, Kaneuji displayed his inventiveness through five series of works (made from 2004 to the present) that re-evaluate the significance of assemblage by taking sculpture to new levels of amusement, fascination, and serious thought. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Teppei Kaneuji, Teenage Fan Club #66-72, 2015. Plastic figures and hot glue, dimensions variable.
New York: Choong Sup Lim - Korea Society
by Robert C. Morgan
Choong Sup Lim, Luna—Thousand Rivers & Thousand Reflections, 2015. Traditional Korean cotton thread, rice paper, wax, wood, video, kinetics, and sound, 8 x 15 x 10 ft. Choong Sup Lim is a highly accomplished Korean-born artist who has lived and worked in New York since 1973. His work offers a marked contrast to the notion of materialism so rampantly displayed in the so-called art fairs that have displaced the spiritual concept in art, a concept that Lim understands as indigenous to the culture of his homeland. Luna—Thousand Rivers & Thousand Reflections (2015), a room-size installation, consists of traditional Korean cotton thread (1,000 yards), rice paper (hanji), wax, wood, a kinetic system to move the thread, and a DVD projection. This is a more intimate version of a work that appeared three years ago at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Choong Sup Lim, Luna—Thousand Rivers & Thousand Reflections, 2015. Traditional Korean cotton thread, rice paper, wax, wood, video, kinetics, and sound, 8 x 15 x 10 ft.
New York: James Siena - Pace Gallery
by Jonathan Goodman
James Siena, Just Read the Instructions, 2013. Cherry wood, 47.75 x 68.5 x 59.75 in. James Siena’s extensive show of large and small, intricate sculptures in wood and metal seemed very much like an essay in structure. In an interview with Julia Schwartz for Figure/Ground, Siena acknowledged the influence of open-wire works of art: “I met Alan Saret early in my years in New York and was tremendously moved by his light-permeable wire sculptures.” While the range of sculpture in Siena’s exhibition was broad, both in size and materials (bronze, cherry wood, bamboo), the fabrication process was close to identical: sticks are attached to the ends of other sticks, the connections building an open design in which light and space are as important as the construction itself. The angular splices between one element and the next show us how a very simple process—the joining of two linear elements—can result in three-dimensional works of unusually attractive complexity. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

James Siena, Just Read the Instructions, 2013. Cherry wood, 47.75 x 68.5 x 59.75 in.
New York: Christopher Wool - Luhring Augustine
by Jonathan Goodman
Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2014. Bronze, copper, and steel, 123.5 x 57.25 x 54.25 in. Christopher Wool’s 2013 show at the Guggenheim Museum didn’t seem terribly convincing. It is likely that many viewers found the paintings uninspired and stylistically repetitive. But his sculptures, which mostly consist of curved, bronze tubular lines, look more interesting. Wool’s three-dimensional works reference New York School painting as much as they consider the current state of American sculpture. Still, his work has to justify itself on a contemporary basis rather than an archival one. His sculptures, with their wave-like lines of expression, demonstrate a regard for drawing; in an interesting way, they may take their expressiveness from the calligraphy of Brice Marden’s tangled, linear paintings and works on paper. Two-dimensional work seems a natural influence because at least some of Wool’s sculptures are highly frontal in appearance. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.


Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2014. Bronze, copper, and steel, 123.5 x 57.25 x 54.25 in.
Edinburg, Texas: Susan Fitzsimmons - Dorothy Charles Clark Gallery
by Renata Karlin
Susan Fitzsimmons, The Spill, 2014. Bronze, 84 x 60 x 8 in. “Sentinels and Guardians,” an exhibition of bronze sculptures by Susan Fitzsimmons at the Clark Gallery of the University of Texas in Edinburg (where Fitzsimmons is a professor and chair of the art department), presented an engaging paradox. Bronze casting is a highly skilled as well as physically demanding discipline and requires careful planning. Traditionally, hot molten bronze is poured into a wax-filled mold, then packed in sand as it cools and solidifies. In the process, the wax is burned out, revealing the form. Fitzsimmons’s bronzes, however, are not planned; they are the almost accidental result of a number of castings (sometimes as many as six for a single piece). In place of the traditional wax, she uses cast-off materials such as cardboard. As the cardboard is burned out, the remaining bronze takes on an appearance of almost lace-like delicacy. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Susan Fitzsimmons, The Spill, 2014. Bronze, 84 x 60 x 8 in.
Seattle: Leo Saul Berk - Frye Art Museum
by Matthew Kangas
Leo Saul Berk, Structure and Ornament, 2014. Plywood and acrylic, 120 x 213 x 59 in. Leo Saul Berk’s recent exhibition “Structure and Ornament” featured a series of sculptural installations commissioned by the Frye Art Mus­eum and Frye Foundation. In an unusually apt interface between an artist and the museum’s permanent collection of 19th-century German art, director Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker linked Berk’s variations on his childhood home (eccentric architect Bruce Goff’s Ford House in Aurora, Illinois) to the Frye’s substantial holdings of the multi-disciplinary Munich Secession. Most of the 14 separate works, including sculptures, video projections, geometric metal chimneys, backlit light boxes, and outdoor water elements, will outlast such comparisons and contextual defenses (all of which were detailed by Berk and assorted architectural and art historians). Berk wrote 16 lengthy wall labels to accompany his works. Such determined verbiage left little wiggle-room for the viewer, however, unless he or she ignored them. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.


Leo Saul Berk, Structure and Ornament, 2014. Plywood and acrylic, 120 x 213 x 59 in.
Buenos Aires: Rita Simoni - Zafarrancho
by Maria Carolina Baulo
Rita Simoni, Humectaria, 2015. Photographs, wooden frames, glass, moss, plants, log, mushrooms, water, and soil, view of installation.  I have been following the work of the Argentine artist Rita Simoni for many years, and I must confess that it still surprises me. Her work offers a clear example of a skill that can’t be ignored by contemporary artists—the ability to adapt to a specific environment using as many stylistic devices and supports as needed. Architect, photographer, visual artist, Simoni can move from the two-dimensional to installation, from an artist’s book to 3D digital design; there are no limits for her. Humectaria took place in an unconventional, almost unthinkable, and even hostile space. Simoni completely transformed the basement space of Zafarrancho into a sort of “cosmic portal” that transported viewers from the dark, enclosed city to the heart of the Argentine forests: the Paraná Delta and the Tucumán Yungas. Zafarrancho, which frequently floods, has moisture problems that become noticeable as soon as you begin to descend the stairs. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.

Rita Simoni, Humectaria, 2015. Photographs, wooden frames, glass, moss, plants, log, mushrooms, water, and soil.
Aarhus, Denmark: Sculpture by the Sea
by Sasha Grishin
Salah Saouli, Swarm, 2015. Painted branches and plastic cords, 300 x 300 x 1000 cm. Next year, “Sculpture by the Sea” in Australia will celebrate its 20th anniversary. The brainchild of David Handley, “Sculpture by the Sea” was conceived as a free exhibition, arranged along a spectacular stretch of coastline at Bondi Beach and designed to attract both a popular audience and art professionals. The Sydney show now draws about half a million visitors annually and generates about $1 million in sales, making it one of Australia’s most significant art events. In 2005, the concept spread to the opposite side of the continent, to scenic Cottesloe Beach in Perth in Western Australia, with its spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. The show again became a runaway success and an annual fixture in the arts calendar. The story of the third “Sculpture by the Sea,” at Aarhus, reads like a Danish fairy tale. Crown Prince Fred­erik met and married an Australian lass, Mary; back in Denmark, he spoke enthusiastically about the great outdoor sculpture event in Sydney. ...see the entire review in the print version of January/February's Sculpture magazine.


Salah Saouli, Swarm, 2015. Painted branches and plastic cords, 300 x 300 x 1000 cm, from “Sculpture by the Sea.”

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